I cant clearly express what an amazing session this has been. Tinkering School presented its most abstract problem, in it’s most abstract way. The week started with the prompt “Make a puppet that is at least 6ft in one dimension, and make it sufficiently complex as to need the entire team to operate.”
What came out was some of the most creative and most complex engineering Tinkering School has ever seen. One team made a dragon head that could move in all three axises and open and close it’s mouth. Another team made an entire stage to serve the purpose of allowing puppeteers to be under it and having gopher-puppets pop up in time to be eaten by a 5 ft tall crane that had working neck and knee joints (off of which happened after a 9ft tall trojan horse snuck the heron into gopher city). Another team made a 10ft tall heron that could flap it’s wings in a two hinged fashion, had a jointed neck, and could attack a giant gopher hill which had simulated dirt. And yet another team create functioning 9ft tall rock-em sock-em robots that could do live battles, and whose heads actually popped off when hit.
All along the way kids worked hard, solved problem, focused, worked on teams and where inclusive. Friendships formed, and friend-groups existed, but every group was radically inclusive, and the week left us, the kids, and the staff just glowing with pride.
Oh and the Pie to the Face? That’s the grand prize for being the team that cleaned up the most MOOP (Mater Out Of Place), which is all the bits of plastic, paper, and metal we as a camp generate that represent a danger to ourselves, other humans and nature. Piki won, and their victory was glorious and vanilla flavored.